Insulin Pumps and CGM devices could be affected at airports

Fri, 26 Oct 2012
Diabetics who use insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices have been warned that their tools could be damaged by magnetic X-ray equipment used for airport security.

An editorial published in the peer-reviewed journal Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics states that full-body or X-ray scanners, as well as the low-pressure conditions on airplanes, may affect the function of these sensitive devices, which for many diabetic patients are essential for managing their condition.

The warning comes from University of Colorado researchers Andrew Cornish and H. Peter Chase, who said the motor of an insulin delivery pump or CGM device could experience an electromagnetic malfunction when passing through security scanners in airports, but admitted that existing research into this damage is limited.

"Given the increased use of insulin pump therapy, not only in the U.S., but around the world, with hundreds of thousands of people using this technology, it seems critical that more research is funded to better understand and potentially repair this problem," commented Dr. Irl Hirsch, Senior Editor of Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics and Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center.

He explained that people who use these tools can present letters from their GPs to airport security personnel to ensure they are hand-checked and not exposed to any imaging equipment in airports.

The professor added that people with diabetes need to be educated on this issue and any other potential problems by their healthcare providers.
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